I was working my shift (The 3rd-10p-8a) and I got a call from a customer that was having some trouble.  I am a Technical solutions Consultant III at HPE with the SimpliVity Solution. His name was BlueJay. I said to him “that is an interesting name, how did you come by it?” He replied that is was a long story and it had something to do with learning to fly. It was close to the end of my shift and I handed him over to the day shift, but a unique nickname like that got me to thinking about my nicknames. This is also a “long story”.

My mother told me when I was much younger that when I was born, my parents wanted me to be named Mickey Craven. (my last name changed when my dad adopted me in 1968) She said that when her parents came to see her (and me) in the hospital, that my German-Lutheran grandparents said that my name was much to Irish and they wished she would change her mind. That’s how the name Michael came to be mine. Everyone referred to me as “Mikey”.

Now in the 1970’s Quaker Oats Company came out with a cereal called Life. A boy (John Gilcrist) was called “Mikey” and they had an ad campaign based on “Mikey Likes It”. “Let Mikey try it, he hates everything” became a common statement around my house, so my name pretty much went from Mickey to Mikey and the name Michael was only used when my mother was real angry with me. People that know me are comfortable calling me Mikey but being the old curmudgeon I am most the time now, it is just “Mike”.

I was in the Army and spent 3 years in and around the Korean DMZ. My then wife was Korean and lived in a local village there. I was a forward observer (FO) for the artillery battalion in that area. People usually called me by my rank of Sergeant. (Sargent Seden). A couple of years later at Fort Stewart, I worked for General Schwarzkopf when he was a Major (2 star) General, that would turn into “Sargent Yes” as ‘yes’ was the only reply I wanted to hear when communicating an order.

During my time in the DMZ, there was a firebase called ‘4Papa1’ and it was the only live firebase in the Army anywhere in the world. We always had 6 guns pointed at targets in North Korea, to protect our troops. Part of my duties was to “register” the guns every 3 days or so or when the weather changed. They would take 1 gun and turn it around and I would have to ‘register’ it by getting rounds close to the target. That way they would have very accurate data to set the guns with.

On one of these trips to the register them, I had finished registering the gun, and the fire direction center (FDC) asked me to call a fire mission to expend some old ammo. A “Danger Close” fire mission requires the guns to shoot at that target until the FO says quit, or they run out of ammo. I sent them a grid coordinate for a small stream intersection, at the base of the hill I was on next to the edge of the impact area.

As I got “shot over” over the radio a flock of ducks flew in and started to settle into that spot. The rounds came rapidly and as the first one landed the ducks flew away. The rounds were HE (High Explosive) and WP (white phosphorus) and there was 6 of each. The ammo expended, I ended the fire mission and got ready to leave. The WP had started a small fire at thee edge of the impact area and I didn’t want to leave it, so I took my Private and a shovel and we went down the hill.

We put out the small fires and as I was headed back to the jeep I saw a Green Winged Teal duck (Eurasian) laying on the ice of the stream with a trickle of blood running from it’s bill. I love duck and seeing no physical injury (the concussion killed it) I took the duck home, the housekeeper cleaned it and we had it for supper.  It was nothing special until the next day.

I got up and did the normal Army stuff and when I got to the Motor pool, there was a duck with an artillery round chasing it and feathers flying off painted on my vehicle. I became Sargent Duck hunter. I was known as the “The Duck Hunter” for the rest of my tour in Korea. I hunted ducks as a kid and still have a few decoys, duck calls and “duck memorabilia” along with that nickname. The ringtone on my phone is a duck quacking.

To finish up this ‘long story’ I will close by saying that I am the only person you will ever meet, that has hunted with a 105mm howitzer, shot down a duck and took it home and ate it.




Why I vote Democrat- Just Stirrin’ the Puddin’

Why I vote Democrat    
(comment by TheFallofAmerica on March 19, 2014) 

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month.

I vote Democrat because I care about the children … but saddling them with trillions of dollars of debt to pay for my bloated leftist government is okay.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s better to pay billions of dollars to people who hate us rather than drill for our own oil, because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher.

I vote Democrat because I believe it is okay if liberal activist judges rewrite the Constitution to suit some fringe kooks, who would otherwise never get their agenda past the voters.

I vote Democrat because I believe that corporate America should not be allowed to make profits for themselves or their shareholders. They need to break even and give the rest to the federal government for redistribution.

I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted, so long as we keep all of the murderers on death row alive.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if my Nobel Peace Prize winning President uses drones to assassinate people, as long as we don’t use torture.

I vote Democrat because I believe people, who can’t accurately tell us if it will rain on Friday, can predict the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Chevy Volt.

I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is not as important as preventing people from being offended.

I vote Democrat because I believe the oil companies’ profit of 3% on a gallon of gas is obscene, but the federal government taxing that same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t obscene.

I vote Democrat because I believe a moment of silent prayer at the beginning of the school day constitutes government indoctrination and an intrusion on parental authority ….. but sex education, condom distribution and multiculturalism are all values-neutral.

I vote Democrat because I agonize over threats to the natural environment from CO2, acid rain and toxic waste ….. but I am totally oblivious of the threats to our social environment from pornography, promiscuity and family dissolution.

I vote Democrat because I believe lazy, uneducated stoners should have just as big a say in running our country as entrepreneurs who risk everything and work 70 hours per week.

I vote Democrat because I don’t like guns ….. so no one else should be allowed to own one.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between welfare and the rise of illegitimacy.

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between judicial leniency and surging crime rates.

I vote Democrat because I believe you don’t need an ID to vote but you do to buy beer.

I vote Democrat because I believe marriage is obsolete, except for homosexuals.

I vote Democrat because I think AIDS is spread by insufficient funding.

I vote Democrat because I think “fairness” is far more important than freedom.

I vote Democrat because I think an “equal outcome” is far more important than equal opportunity.

I vote democrat because I would rather hide in a class room while others fight for my freedom.

I vote democrat because I’m not smart enough to own a gun and I need someone else to protect me.

I vote democrat because I would rather have free stuff than freedom.

And lastly, I vote Democrat because I’m convinced that government programs are the solution to the human condition, NOT freedom.

Re-posted from BizPac Review

New Ethernet Standards

(penned in 2016)

I migrated a data center in New York that had Cat7/7A Tera connectors from Siemon at the new location. Having never seen the connectors before, I started asking a lot of questions. Apparently when the new data center was designed and approved, it was designed for the next level standard. That was way before it was built. When it was built, they built it to the new standard. The standard is used mostly in Europe but not recognized in TIA/EIA-568. With 40Gb with 1 cable at 50M and 100Gb with 1 cable at 15M it seems like the way to go. The data center orders all of their cables from Siemon in Europe. Kind of expensive, but with Twinax cables (Or SFP or Fiber over Ethernet) costing as much as they do it might be worth it. With data centers becoming cloud-like having so many virtual machines and multiple application scenarios running, why haven’t we here in the states adapted to the new standard?

The first benefit I see is Siemon’s “Cable Sharing”. The shielded design allows for 1-, 2-, and 4-pair outlet and plug modularity exceeding 10GBASE-T and using a single patch panel outlet. That means multiple applications over the same cable at the same time. The next one I see is bandwidth. TERA allows bandwidth of up to 1.2 GHz per pair. CAT7/Class F specifications are the highest of any copper available copper system.

Having had to pull a few cables in buildings when you go from CAT5e or Cat 6 to Cat 6A you have to pull as many cables for same amount of outlets/jacks. CAT 6A is larger because of the shielding on each pair, plenum separating the pairs and the outer shielding. That means you need more space to pull the same amount of cables. With Cat 7/7A TERA’s 4 pair outlet you can run 2 cables to do the same workload as 3 of CAT 5e. The cables are pretty much the same diameter as CAT 6A. So let’s say your standard is 3 outlets per desk, one being a flood gate/or to give you some room to grow in the future. Pulling 2 CAT 7 will give you a 100Mbps data connection, separate voice for phone and an unused cable for future growth. The cost benefit of this cable-sharing technique is that you will actually get more outlets and more future proofing for the same cost as a Category 5e solution would have been.

Lastly, the new standard is backward compatible with CAT 5e, 6, and 6A. Although most manufactures of active equipment have chosen to stay with 8P8C for their 10GbE products, the GG45, ARJ45 and TERA connectors are available. In other words you can get a CAT 7 cable with a TERA connector on one end and a shielded RJ45 on the other.

I know other companies besides Siemon are working on the new standard. Commscope is one of them. Please feel free to comment with your ideas and thoughts.

Eons Law’s(An Online Acquaintance)

Several people, including most recently Bruno, have asked me about Eon’s Laws. They’re sort of like Murphy’s Laws, and they are based on my personal experiences and observations over a lifetime. I’m not saying they are definitive, but I generally find them pretty accurate predictors of human nature.

I have also found that some of them step on peoples’ toes.

So, with that in mind, buckle your seatbelts. This ride could get bumpy.

Eon’s Laws
First Law
Human beings choose to follow a belief systems, religious, political, or otherwise, which sanctify the sort of actions they would do anyway. The belief system just lets them feel self-righteous about what they want to do to others.
Second Law
If someone repeatedly and constantly tells you that he wants to kill you, you owe him the courtesy of assuming he really means it and respond appropriately.
Third Law
Hunter S. Thompson once observed that “entire empires have been done in by vengeful freaks claiming a special relationship with God”. He forgot the even greater number of polities destroyed by even more vengeful freaks who believed that they, themselves, were God.
Fourth Law
When anyone in government uses the phrase “For The Greater Good”, a smart man or woman quietly slides out through the nearest back exit. With one hand on their wallet, and the other on their sidearm.
Fifth Law
Any social system that relies solely on the “better nature” of the rulers to protect the ruled from the rulers, isn’t worth having.
Sixth Law
Never assume a politician will act against what he perceives as his personal best interests. And never, ever assume that he is being truthful when he acts in a way contrary to his philosophy and track record. You will spend your life being surprised and disappointed.
Seventh Law
There are two kinds of people who censor. Those who don’t want to face the facts and those who don’t want anyone else to know what the facts really are. Both are dangerous, just in slightly different ways.
Eighth Law
“Race” is not destiny. Culture absolutely is. Religion and politics are just a part of culture. Culture is the “operating system” of a civilization. Like any OS, it’s a case of GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Ninth Law
Just because something is stupid or illogical won’t stop people from believing in it. Especially if they think they can get something out of it, like money or power.
Tenth Law
On average, about one out of twenty people likes hurting other people just for its own sake. Also on average, about half of that five percent become professional criminals. The other half become professional politicians.

Eleventh Law
Anyone who demands “social justice” has no interest in either “society” or “justice”. All they really want is power they can use to abuse everyone they don’t like.
Twelfth Law
There is no racist worse than one who believes himself to be “tainted” by that which he despises.
Thirteenth Law
Remember the Engineer’s Creed; When the real-world data doesn’t agree with the theory, believe the data and come up with a new theory. This is true of anything, but is particularly applicable to science and politics.

Fourteenth Law;
The Berlin Wall Theory; Only tyrants need to build walls and employ armed thugs to keep their subjects from fleeing.
Fifteenth Law;
Politicians should never seek to grant government powers they wouldn’t want their political opponents to have. Because barring a one-party dictatorship, sooner or later those opponents will be in charge.
Sixteenth Law;
You can always spot a would-be tyrant, of any stripe. They consider themselves invaluable and everybody else expendable.
Seventeenth Law;
Ultimately, government is less about doing things for the people than it is about doing things to the people. Whether the people want government doing those “things” or not.

That’s all, folks. Feel free to comment, throw bricks at or garlands, etc., as you please.


The Buddy Poppy

(Posted 10 November,2019)

On November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme.

None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why.

The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-Sur-Ter Noise. Once there, the bodies were draped with the union flag.

Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at random. The other three were reburied.

A French Honour Guard was selected and stood by the coffin overnight of the chosen soldier overnight.

On the morning of the 8th November, a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court arrived and the Unknown Warrior was placed inside.

On top was placed a crusaders sword and a shield on which was inscribed:

“A British Warrior who fell in the GREAT WAR 1914-1918 for King and Country”.

On the 9th of November, the Unknown Warrior was taken by horse-drawn carriage through Guards of Honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the quayside.

There, he was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Vernon bound for Dover. The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths, surrounded by the French Honour Guard.

Upon arrival at Dover, the Unknown Warrior was met with a nineteen gun salute – something that was normally only reserved for Field Marshals.

A special train had been arranged and he was then conveyed to Victoria Station, London.

He remained there overnight, and, on the morning of the 11th of November, he was finally taken to Westminster Abbey.

The idea of the unknown warrior was thought of by a Padre called David Railton who had served on the front line during the Great War the union flag he had used as an altar cloth whilst at the front, was the one that had been draped over the coffin.

It was his intention that all of the relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the Unknown Warrior could very well be their lost husband, father, brother or son…

THIS is the reason we wear poppies.

We do not glorify war.

We remember – with humility – the great and the ultimate sacrifices that were made, not just in this war, but in every war and conflict where our service personnel have fought – to ensure the liberty and freedoms that we now take for granted.

Every year, on the 11th of November, we remember the Unknown Warrior.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Lest we forget.

Copied from War History Online

On Pain and Growth

(Penned in 2018)

I was recently reading a technical post where one special character would work in a password, but another, the one they wanted to use would not. My thought was ‘use the one that works’. Change is like a foreign concept to some people. I don’t think something like a password character would be dictated by corporate policy, but it could. Then my mind went to how I learned to change. I often ask people when I see them stuck on a problem or issue, “Do you know why I quit hitting my hand with a hammer?” The answer I usually get is “Because it hurt so much.” The actual answer, and the one I tell them is… “Because it felt so good when I stopped.” You can replace ‘hand’ with any body part you feel necessary to get the point across. Change (Pain) is inevitable, Growth is optional.

Why I work for my Employer (HPE)

I was walking through the woods, looking for trees that were twisted by vines or blemished in some way to make walking sticks out of. That is my hobby, I tend to see a good cane, or walking stick, staff or cromach before it is finished. I was content and relaxed and wondered why. Then an idea popped into my head, that I was relaxed because I enjoyed what I was doing. I like de-barking and whittling the sticks, watching the character of the wood come out. I probably have 30 or 40 of them in my garage in various stages of creation. They don’t always end up being the stick I imagined when I cut it, but they come out like they are supposed to.

“I was relaxed because I enjoyed what I was doing.”  It occurred to me that I have been working for over 40 years and have not always been happy at doing it. In the Army the duty stations and positions changed. I was a forward observer in the artillery, but I supported Infantry, Armor and Air Cavalry (you should try calling for and spotting artillery from a helicopter sometime!) at various levels. I even had the pleasure of working as a Fire Support Sargent for General Schwarzkopf when he was a 2 star General. If I didn’t like the unit I was in I could request a transfer, or effect a change in my area of authority to make it better.

When I got out, I worked in a variety of fields, but settled into construction. I learned masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and eventually became a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Certified Remodeler. To become a CR I had to pass an exam that was like the exams that a tradesman would have to pass to get a license. I created my own business and did what I wanted. I loved working with my hands and making things. I was happy at what I was doing, but there is a huge difference in working for yourself and being satisfied and working for someone else.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with cancer and in 2008 went through the radiation treatment for that. At the same time the housing bubble burst and all the home builders became remodelers. The radiation took a lot out of me as well as the new competition, so I closed my business. I couldn’t physically do the labor anymore. I spoke to a friend (a Cisco CCIE) about finding a new career and he suggested that I would make a good geek. I said something to the effect that there were so many areas to get into that I wouldn’t know what to go to college for. He replied, “Mike if you can keep them talking, you will always have a job.” So at almost 50 I went to college and got a AAS in Networking Systems Administration from DeVry University.

I have worked for a few corporations since then. Most were very good to work for and had great benefits. Some had a career path, and some didn’t. A couple of years ago, I started to work at HPE as a contractor in customer service for 3PAR. They literally trained us for 3 months before we were able to work on e-tickets, and then had to prove we could work on the phone. I think at that point I realized that the company and the direct supervisors wanted us to succeed. Because of my certifications and my networking experience they moved me to the SAN Switch team to help customers. HPE saw my expertise and placed me in a position to help train my peers, keep learning new technology and help the customer with a problem. Sometimes they were hardware related, sometimes software related but a lot of the time it was a configuration issue. Around the same time that HPE acquired SimpliVity, I was hired as an employee and asked to join that team.

For a position at a company to be worthwhile for me, I need to have a purpose. In order to find that purpose, I need to have goals. Goals give me purpose. I think that is one of the reasons I love what I do is that my immediate supervisor asked me where I wanted to be in 1 year, 2 years, etc. Once the goals are in place and I am working towards them, I feel a sense of fulfillment. With that being said, it seems to me that HPE culture is one of fulfillment first, then sustainability, trust, integrity and so forth.

My manager, his manager, her manager, and the North American manager all have taken the time to meet me, get to know me and find out what makes me tick. There are a couple of long-term career choices for me from my current position. Because my manager knows me and what my goals are, he has been able to open another possibility for me in the company for a long-term career direction. Most bosses just don’t do that. The employees at HPE are a product of these type of managers. I have never worked with a group of people that were so eager to help you understand a concept whether it be an old idea or a brand new one. If something comes up and you need to leave for the day, they ask if they can help you, then ask if they can finish your work.

Now, you may be wondering how I went from collecting sticks to working at HPE. I think that just like my being able to see a cane, walking stick, staff or cromach in a piece of wood in the forest, HPE can see their core values in their employees. Like I whittle and sand on my sticks, HPE helps their employees grow, set goals, be better service agents and engineers. By helping employees set goals and allowing them to work towards those goals they let their employees find purpose and fulfillment.

The 4th of July

(Originally Penned July 4th, 2018)

Sitting here drinking my 3rd cup of coffee on the 4th of July, thinking about my place in the scheme of things. Looked at faceache and saw some good stuff and some ugly. Most of it explaining why a person celebrates today, or why you should celebrate it the way they do, or better yet, think and act like they do.  I did not go to the fireworks in Kennesaw last night, nor will I go to any tonight. I was a Forward Observer in the Artillery when I served in the Army. It’s okay to see them from very afar but having been up close and personal on the receiving end I still prefer to not stand next to the bangs, whistles and booms. It tends to make the ringing in my ears that never stops more loud and constant.

I saw a post from England calling us ungrateful colonists. A friend posted a video of an Islamic Sharia Law stoning of a woman. I saw a post about the percentage of Mexicans vs the rest of Central American Countries trying to cross the border. I saw one about the heat wave being the fault of Global Warming (insert Al Gore). I saw a post where a guy pushed a woman in a wheel chair for miles because her batteries died on her chair and she couldn’t push herself. People were running races, picnicking, riding horses, cooking and washing dishes.

I didn’t go to the parade to march in it in Marietta, I tend to not want to be seen most of the time, just acknowledged. I truly believe in having fun. But mostly at myself, life is to short and people leave us without warning or good-bye. I will spend today doing small things around the house with my wife. I will probably spend some time working on the websites for my Non-Profit Veteran Service Organizations, Vet-Fest and Visions Outreach. You can donate to PayPal to support these organizations! But mostly today I will remain focused on myself, my past actions, my experiences and how I can use them to be a better husband, father, neighbor, citizen and person.

As a Lutheran, I believe we are saved by our faith, and not our actions. Our faith however large or small is a GIFT from God. A Grace from God. I hope my faith guides my actions and not other’s opinions. When you think about all of the gifts that has been given to each one of us, it is hard for me to forget where I came from. It is a physical impossibility to get to where I am at from where I started. I had a lot of help from God and other people, because it IS impossible. Thanks for reading this.

I am still amazed that my dogs are happy to see me every time I come home. That I get the chance to take the garbage out to the curb instead of eating it. That I have bills to pay. And mostly that when I swipe my ID badge at work, the door opens to let a guy like me in to go to work. You are powerless over other people, places and things. Focus on what YOU can do, not someone else. Happy Fourth of July, Independence Day, and whatever else this day signifies to you. I tend to think about the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

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